‘They don’t trust Cristiano Ronaldo’

Portugal players accused of deliberately not passing to Al-Nassr striker in ‘strange’ display against Czechia

Portugal players have been accused of deliberately not passing the ball to captain Cristiano Ronaldo during their 2-1 win over Czechia at Euro 2024.

Portugal were forced to come from behind to see off Czechia in their opening game of Euro 2024 on Monday. Cristiano Ronaldo started the game for Roberto Martinez’s side but failed to shine, and it was left to teenage substitute Francisco Conceicao to grab the winning goal in stoppage time.

Portugal’s players have been accused of deliberately not passing to 39-year-old Ronaldo by former England international Stuart Pearce. The ex-defender spoke about the Al-Nassr superstar while commentating on the match and felt there was a lack of trust between the Portugal veteran and the rest of his team-mates during the win.

Pearce told talkSPORT: “This might sound ridiculous, but [maybe] they don’t trust Ronaldo enough to keep supplying him with the ball, that type of thing. There’s been times in the games where he’s shown to feet and they’ve not popped the ball into his feet.

“There was one with Bernardo Silva, it was one of these rogue passes [by Czech Republic] that got cut out. Bernardo Silva had it in the centre circle, Ronaldo peeled off in an inside-right position.

“I’m thinking, ‘If this was ten years ago, you slide it in front of him and you know full well he’s going to get there and score.’ He [Silva] denied the pass, and I found that quite strange.”

Ronaldo was labelled a “genius” by Czechia boss Ivan Hasek after the game despite his somewhat subdued display for the national team. The Al-Nassr and his Portugal team-mates are back in action on Euro 2024 on Saturday when they take on a Turkey side that enjoyed a lively victory over Georgia in their opener.


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